The New York Islanders are on a mission as the 2021-22 season begins. However, this time it is an unfamiliar role. Normally the Islanders are viewed as the underdogs before the season. This year it is a little different as the Islanders are one of the favourites to win the Stanley Cup.
But that does not bother the players because their mindset will remain the same entering the season. They are focused on themselves and not worried about what the outside world thinks. And that is how they have to approach every game because if they start to believe their own hype, the team will struggle. But with this group of players, you can rest assured that will not happen.
New York Islanders In New Role As Favourites
The Islanders will begin their campaign on a 13-game road trip prior to the opening of UBS Arena on November 20th. And while many people are picking the Islanders to finish in first place in the division, this will test them for sure. However, what they do on this road trip will also determine a lot for the rest of the season. Not only that there is the additional pressure of being one of the favourites to win the Stanley Cup. But head coach Barry Trotz knows how to keep his team focused on the job at hand as he believes in their abilities to adapt to any challenge in front of them.
“It’s a little bit of a privilege to be a team that’s considered a contender for a Stanley Cup, said Barry Trotz on Tuesday. “There’s a burden that comes with that. I think this group is very capable.”
The Islanders are a team built for the playoffs. And after back-to-back trips to the Eastern Conference Final losing to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning twice, expectations should be high. But the Islanders cannot be complacent just because they are a favourite for the Stanley Cup. Trotz knows his team still has to earn the right to be there in the end. However, there is a belief and mindset that this group is on a mission to complete what they started last year.
As Trotz pointed out expectations within the locker room are high. “We have unfinished business. Anything less is considered a failure.” Those are definitely new expectations for the Islanders, which is a good thing. This group went through heartbreak last season. However, the Islanders are making sure it is business as usual even with the extra pressure from outside their locker room.
“The mentality stays the same. We want to focus on what we have to do, said Anthony Beauvillier. “People can say whatever they want. We’re just trying to focus on ourselves”
Does not that sound familiar. It is the same message that is coming from the head coach. These players know what they have to do to be successful. This is nothing new to them. Barry Trotz is in a familiar role of being a favourite. He will show and teach these players how to deal with pressure. Not only that their general manager Lou Lamoriello has been in this position before with the New Jersey Devils and Toronto Maple Leafs.
Lamoriello believes in this group. The roster under his watch is probably not complete. He will make a move or two to put them over the top at the deadline. But New York Islanders are determined to win this season and they should be. Why not this group of players has been there before and they are on the cusp of something special.